Those were the aggressively affordable annual subscription prices Tom Baker put on The Wall Street Journal when its Web site launched last spring (http://wsj.com).
Finally, the business community cheered, someone was going to ask, nay force, consumers to pay! Dozens of advertisers, including AT&T Corp., Apple Computer, Digital Equipment Corp., MCI Communications Corp. and Siemens, pledged their support to the enterprise.
Registrants lured by a free trial offer began coming on board in droves. Now with 600,000 Interactive Edition users faced with the bill for the first time this month, Mr. Baker plans to stick to his guns, even if it means losing a few of the subscribers.
"Many of them won't stay," he admitted, adding that he expects only 10% to 30% to remain. "But the process will be similar to building circulation. We recognize that a minority will remain."
Going forward, Mr. Baker promises to work hard to protect his brand's equity, keep pricing as is, and cater to a hybrid crowd that includes both print and non-print readers.
A deal with Netscape Communications Corp. allows additional personalization functions on the site, while continued availability of an old $12.95-per-month desktop Personal Journal and a recently announced bundling deal with Toshiba are sure to keep the coffers full while the Interactive Edition fleshes out its subscriber base.
Betcha didn't know: When he was 9 years old, Mr. Baker was profiled in the Gary Post-Tribune because he published and distributed a homemade newspaper in his neighborhood.